Amherst Baseball Drops a Pair at Wesleyan to Lose Season Series

MIDDLETOWN, CT - The Amherst College baseball team dropped a pair of NESCAC-West games at Wesleyan University's Dresser Field this afternoon to see the three-game season series win head to the Cardinals. In the opener, the Lord Jeffs were edged 8-6, before Wesleyan held off a comeback attempt for a 6-3 win in the nightcap. 

In the day's first game, scheduled for seven innings, the Lord Jeffs jumped all over Cardinal starter Brett Yarusi in the first inning. John Wagner (Evanston, IL) was hit by a pitch to start the game, before Will Lawton (Newton, MA) reached on a fielder's choice. The pair move into scoring position on an errant throw and a Lawton stolen base. After a Scott Shaffer (Boulder, CO) walk, Kevin Heller (Brooklyn, NY) had Amherst's first hit, allowing two runs to score. Shaffer ended up scoring on a wild pitch, and Heller scored on an infield ground out by Thomas Wheeler (Minnetonka, MN). After the top of the first, Amherst led 4-0 on just one hit.

The Cardinals responded in the bottom of the first inning though, scoring six runs on a trio of hits.  Wesleyan was very selective at the plate early on, taking five walks in the frame, while adding a pair of two-RBI hits into left field to power the comeback.

The Lord Jeffs scored a run in each the third and fourth innings to tie the game at 6-6, but once again the Cardinals responded soon after. Wesleyan knocked in a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth with back-to-back doubles to start the inning, and a timely RBI single by Brice Kelly. Kelly finished the opening game 2-for-4 at the plate, with three RBIs and a run scored.

Neither team scored after the fourth inning, as Yarusi held off any chance of an Amherst comeback. Yarusi (3-1) went the full 7.0 innings for the win, giving up four hits and six run, three of which were earned. Amherst's starter, Ryan Healy (Westport, CT), took the loss to fall to 1-3 on the year. Healy lasted five innings, surrendering six hits and eight earned runs, with seven walks and five strikeouts. No Amherst played had more than a single hit in the seven-inning loss, with Wheeler driving in two of the team's four RBIs.

In the nightcap, Amherst rookie hurler Dylan Joyce (S. Orange, NJ) got the start for the Lord Jeffs. Joyce was superb in the early going, giving up just one hit and no runs in the first four innings of the game. Wesleyan starter Derek Lukin was even more impressive though, ultimately holding the Lord Jeffs off the board for six full innings.

The Cardinals scored a trio of runs in the fifth inning, two of which were knocked in by a triple to left center by Alex Meadow. Joyce remained in the game into the sixth, but eventually gave way to Pat Harris (Rochester, NY) as the Cardinals scored three more runs in the sixth.

Amherst answered with a trio of runs in the top of the seventh frame to cut Wesleyan's lead in half at 6-3. The scoring rally was started by a Mike Samela (Westport, CT) double down the left-field line, and a Wheeler RBI single to right-center. The Jeffs continued to press for a comeback in the top of the ninth, loading the bases on a trio of singles, but Lawton grounded into a 4-6-3 inning- and game-ending double-play.

In game two, both Heller and Nolan Stewart (New Canaan, CT) went 2-for-4, while Wagner, Lawton and Wheeler had the team's only RBIs. Meadow led the Cardinals in the win, going 3-for-4 at the plate with a pair of RBIs, while Chris Bonti had three RBIs in the win.